Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Day 2: BKK -> Phuket Island: Phuket Town & Patong Beach Thailand (2008)

Yesterday, I asked for a wake up call at 6:30 am this morning, I got ready for the continental breakfast and headed for the second floor where it is being held. There was an array of food and oh…it was scrumptious! I’m not sure if it’s what you would call traditional Thai but it was good none the less!

After I got my food, I looked for another table but decided to sit with another foreigner that looked to be alone. She was from Canada, I forget her name but she helped assure me that it’s easy to get around places and safe! I need that confirmation every now and again seeing as I still don’t know what I’m doing. It was interesting talking to her as she was ending her trip and I was beginning mine. I tried to imagine what it would be like at her end of the trip after going all the places she’s been to and to look back on her experience traveling.

So I ate fried flowerish things like Pankeke except no banana and it came with a great green sauce that definitely had coconut milk :D I had some fruits, mini pancakes as well as this prepe like thing that is thicker but oh! Talk about interesting.

Last night with my whole fiasco, I get a the room 808 but it instantly reminded me of home…coincidence…I think Not! I’m a survivor and all these experiences are just making me stronger!

After Breakfast, I had an itching to see a bit of the area around me and so, I decide to go to the Wat that is just out my window. From looking at it, I could tell that I just needed to cross the street walk a few blocks and turn right. Honestly, I could have easily gotten lost, but something in me kept me going no mater what. I encounter my first obstacle crossing the street as they have NO street lights and yeah…I do what comes natural. I wait for someone else to cross the street and go with them! Ha!

I walk a bit and I finally get to the Wat! I’m so stoked because, they are as beautiful and detailed as I would imagine. I LOVE looking at them and I don’t know why, but I want to go inside but don’t have the guts.

I walk into the gates that are at the side and see some Buddha statues but realize that it’s not quite the entrance. I speak in English pointing to the Wat but they don’t understand so I just bow and thank them and head to another gate. The main gate was unmistakable and it had a HUGE picture of the royal family on it. I realize they have the royal family on EVERYTHING, even huge skyscrapers, but I go in and see that it’s practically empty. I love it!

I go and take a few pictures and notice it has another building that is also intricate architecture wise. I then walk further where I hear announcements going on in the background. I also realize that’s where I can get a side view of the wat so I go but cautiously because I’ve read in the Lonely Planet not to go anywhere near political rallies or what nots.

Haha, I was just getting a bit paranoid until I realized that the voices were actually children and so I went and took some video footage and when I was content, I bowed a thank you in the general direction and headed for my hotel to write and pack.

Well, I did my budget and yeah…I spent quite a bit but yeah…my limit was 60 Baht or less. I had to spend 375 on the stupid taxi to the airport. Miss communication of 2 or 3 (I don’t know HOW he could have miss understood when I held up my fingers to indicate as well) but he fucking did! Well, the orginal price was going to be 400 baht, but I bargained to 350 (not too good but I’m trying!) So at least it was 200 baht but I ended up paying highway tolls on the way. I sorta like that idea because it semi relieves the congestion on the lanes. Think of it as a car pool lane that you can get into only you have to pay for it and it’s the whole highway. You can see how this can be effective when you have people like me that don’t want to pay for anything :P

I get to the airport and it’s a quarter past 9:00am. I’ve got until 11:00ish before the actual boarding. This airport is almost like Honolulu, not as busy now that they have most of their flights at the new airport (which is REALLY NICE). It’s just like China where you have to wait by the gate that is actually a bus stop that will take you to the plane in some remote corner. I got a picture of this time! I’m so happy because I got to have 2 extra bags of peanuts! Yay!

We’re landing in Phuket…I’ll be back.

I arrive in Phuket and find the minivans to take me to Phuket town. I’m so happy that I did though because I got to meet some really nice girls from Phuket. While in the bus, one of them asked where I was staying and so forth and they went out of their way to help me book a reservation.

I asked them were I should go visit and they told me Patong (Beach). They then told me price ranges for places to stay and recommended me to stay in town because I could easily catch a bus for cheap. They canceled the reservation that they set for me and then when we arrived, one of the girls offered to take me around in her car to look for a place. I wanted to treat them for lunch but they were busy so they dropped me off in front of their favorite place to eat.

There I had REALLY good watermelon shake (watermelon juice & ice) and thai tea! I also had green curry I think and rice and the price was great! That whole meal for $4!

Once I was done, I was ready to go on my journey to find a hotel schlepping all my stuff with me~! Luckily again for me, there was a great place just 5 doors down and it was decent! Okay about 500B for one night and granted it’s a great price for a warm shower and big bed but honesty, I was hoping for something like 200B but I was tired as it was and I just wanted to put my stuff down to explore. The room was not bad. I was in 406 or the Sivatheeve Hotel and the bellhop was really helpful. Heck, he was more helpful than the girls at the counter since he knew English pretty well!

When I got my stuff situated, I went down and asked where I could go to the nearest electronic store because I needed a plug for this region and I wouldn’t gonna chance putting my plug in the outlets here only to have my equipment blow out! He told me to go right, straight and left and I found myself at a small store.

It took me 5 minutes to convey what I needed but it turned out they didn’t have it so they told me to walk straight down for 20 minutes and I’d come to another store. I…didn’t feel it was a great need for the plug even though my camera battery needed charging but not my top priority at that moment.

I asked them for the directions to get a bus to Patong and they just told me to go left and straight down. On my way, I would try to confirm that I’m going the right way but saying two words: Patong Bus?

Haha, such a foreigner action but really, what can I do? If I knew what to say, I’d still be screwed because they would explain in Thai and…yeah, best to let them know I don’t know shit or how to speak so that they can nod, motion or point.

ALWAYS the BEST!

So I finally get on the bus, and it’s got a few more foreigners in there as well. I confirm if we pay after we get off and all was good. We waited quite some time (maybe 15-20 minutes) for the bus to fill or what not but after that we were off! It only took 20-30 minutes (depending on traffic) and we had more additions added to our bus on the way. It got to the point where we were four rows full of people – 3 benches, middle bench can fit 2 rows - and between the rows, people would stand. It was filled but it wasn’t that bad.

It was there that I made the realization that my body is handling the 90 degree weather (or 29 C) really well! Some girls in front of me were dying (then again, they were in the middle row and didn’t have a window like ME~ :P) but I was fine! I was expecting the Humidity to be HIGH but it was better than Hilo. It was like a mild humidity that you didn’t really feel and the heat wasn’t all that dry too! It was a good median because I didn’t suffer despite how high the temps were.

So, I get off at close to the last stop and head to the beach. It was then that I realized how heavily dressed I was, especially for the beach. I had jeans and a baby tee where everyone was in something skimpy and at times, to my horror, topless (it’s usually the older women that were brave enough to do it and were sagging in places you didn’t want to see!)

The beach was filled with people and not only that, chairs and umbrellas as well! Some of the locals made a living by renting out the chairs and whatnot but I was lucky to get it free (one it was closing time anyway). An older Thai man probably oogling at me while I’m all jangaz from my long ass trip and baggy clothes was trying to talk to me and was telling me that I can have the chair for free. HA! I indulged his minor conversations because it got me a free chair and umbrella but yeah, it was creepy!

WHY do I always get oogled by the older pervy men?! Crap!

Anyhoo, the guy told me that I could have gotten my grapes for 20B instead of 100. Now I know. I was on the chair for an hour before they really had to clean up and I just sat and waited for the sun to set to take pictures (that was the main reason for making the trek that way – pictures of the "picturesque Phuket Beach"). The old guy tried to get me to come again and he said to see him if I wanted a chair the next day. It was also creepy too because I was laying down and I was covering my eyes at one point and I just FELT someone staring at me and lo and behold, he was! EWWW!

So I waited like two hours for the sunset and I was pleased. To tell you the truth, we have better sunsets in Hawaii than in Phuket is not the island for pristine oceans: Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi are the best. Ah well, but I enjoyed myself. During the wait, I watched as this family came out to grab their fishing nets but mainly I loved the interaction between these two brothers the oldest seemed 13 and the youngest 7. The oldest was trying to get his brother to work and pull the net but he wasn’t having none of it! He was having more fun fishing and swimming :D

After the sun came down, I walked by a massage place and looked at the prices. It was 150B for half an hour…about $5-$6. Not bad but looking at the price made me feel the knot in my back and kinks on my neck even more. I couldn’t pass up the deal especially with all the air flights and bus riding (?- My Justification :P). I NEEDED this!

The girl that massaged me wasn’t too happy that it was only half an hour but I didn’t care. Haha, I thought in the middle of the session, we were done when she only wanted me to turn over but in the process I misstep and knocked over the curtain of an adjacent session and yeah…a bit embarrassing so…I kinda indulged the women (and myself of course) with an extra session. Yeah, yeah, I spent $12 on the hour but it was worth it!

I decided to walk around and granted a lot of my confidence has be reinforced since my inner breakdown but I was still not sure about things so…essentially, I followed a couple back into town or some other random people to make sure that I was in well lit areas and close enough to foreigners to yell for help if the occasion arose (luckily nothing of that sort did). I veered off to go shopping (BAD ME! So early in the trip – believe me, I was kicking myself afterwards) but I got me faux adidas shorts, 2 CUTE summer dresses (I’m trying to be a bit more feminine or at least when I get back to Hawaii because I’ll have an excuse for "change" and I won’t get stared at for showing TOO MUCH SKIN by the Japanese :P Freakin A! They can have hoochy shorts and not think it’s too risqué but how my arms, neck and a lower back line, I might as well be dubbed a hooker!)

On the way, I FOUND a booth for my plug I was looking for (not all was useless shopping!) and I was thanking my stars for it! I looked at more booths and stuff and got something for Georgina (she’s awesome! She’s bringing me some Tim TAMS!!! I JUST learned how to do the Tim Tam Straw thing too! Awesome SHIT!) and stumbled onto a string of grass roof thatched bars (little booths you’d expect touristy places to have) but I got me a Pina Colada and made friends with the three girls bar-tending. One of them played Connect 4 with me 5 games, I one the first one, she one the second, third, fifth and thanks to her co worker, she was behind my opponent and would motion for me to move in certain areas so I semi cheated and won the forth :P It was fun and I vowed to come again the next day before heading to Krabi.

I try and hail a cab for 200B but no one wants to go at that price. I came there for 20B and wanted to go back but it was dark and someone said that prices go up during that time. SHIT they said that 400B is the going rate! I was blown away because of ht huge gap between the two but I pulled the "foreigner card" on them and feigned ignorance. I tried to bargain with 200 but that wasn’t going anywhere. I then said 300 and they still weren’t budging so I said at the very most 350B and the guy that calls the cabs was able to get me one guy that was willing drive me at that price. I actually had the 400B but fuck! If I didn’t have to pay it, why should I?

The guy was nice and told me where to go in Krabi and so I gave him 360B instead (but it seems as thought he didn’t want to give me the change anyway because I just jipped him 40B :P) I was nice though and said "you can keep the change" before he probably would have argued that he was due that 10 extra Baht. No biggie. 30 cents US extra so that was my tip (granted that is an exorbitant tip in Thai.)

I get to my around my room and at the elevator, I hear loud techno music! If I’m not mistaken, it seems as thought there was a party going on the second or third floor as well. I was amused but yeah, even on my floor (4th) I can hear the woofer beat. I go to my room, shower and resolve to call my mom on Skype. Luckily there is internet down stairs and this hotel isn’t busy so I wasn’t afraid of disturbing others with my talking to the computer. I got weird looks from passerbyers but Heck, at least I was able to talk to my mom.

After that, I went up to my room and I always pass this weird staircase that doesn’t go down to the lobby first floor. I get weird vibes from it (I don’t know, It just might be me and being too skiddish while away from home and Japan) but yeah…I refused to look into the dark stairway (it had NO lighting) or look way in front of my where I can see my reflection off the window. It was like an eerie "Shinning" moment, but yeah…didn’t quite like where my room was situated at night. Heck, even during the day, I tried to take that stairway down and it only went down one floor before being blocked off…odd. When I went to check out, it was still eerie but not as bad as at night.

My pictures on Facebook & second album.